For some reason, I’ve recently attracted a lot of people who have not done a good job or followed through on their commitments. I’ve hired contractors who really didn’t know what they were doing, went completely off the grid after only completing part of a job, or did not care about following the rules (refusing to provide documentation proving that they were licensed, among other issues). Ultimately, it became clear to me that what they wanted was to get paid for work that they didn’t complete, and that’s a problem. And while hiring a few bad contractors may not seem to be that big of a deal, it really can be debilitating because it delays your project and costs a lot of extra money.

I get sad when I encounter people like this in life because I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, so to be proven otherwise is disheartening. Business works on progress; if you’re the type of person who is on time and follows through on his or her work — and does it well — then you absolutely deserve to get paid in full and to receive the referrals that are likely to follow an excellent performance. But if you don’t do the work, you shouldn’t get paid for it, and if you only do part of the work, you should only get paid for that portion of the agreement.

Too often, I see people who only want to take but not give. Their thoughts are too focused on the short term and themselves, acting only in selfish ways that hurt those around them, and never considering the meaning of providing value. On the other hand, it’s also become clear to me over the years that those who are the most successful at what they do are the ones who tend to give the most of themselves to others. It’s simple, really. Providing value is the key to success.

So, I encourage everyone to continue to provide value — to your work, to your family and friends, and to yourself. Because life shouldn’t only be about receiving; giving, after all, is so much more important.